From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2000:
The Tennessee Court of Appeals on February 4 overturned a 1999 Roane County chancery court ruling that Tiger Haven, of Kingston, Tennessee, is in violation of zoning. Tiger Haven aggressively raised funds during 1999 on the premise that it might soon have to move. Tiger Haven was founded in 1993 by Joseph Donovan Parker, 52, and his wife Mary Lynn Parker. Accused of skimming $50,000 in proceeds during 1986 and 1997 from charity bingo games, Joe Parker drew a reduced sentence on lesser charges after turning prosecution witness in a joint federal/state probe of alleged corruption in bingo gambling that apparently led to the December 1989 suicide of Tennessee secretary of state Gentry Crowell. Parker eventually served three months in a halfway house for conspiracy and tax evasion.
U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann on February 3 reaffirmed his own March 1999 ruling that the Bureau of Indian A f f a i r s need not do an environmental impact study of an 859,000-hog confinement farm now being built on Rosebud Sioux land by Richard Bell, of Wahpeton, North Dakota. The Humane Farming Association, South Dakota Peace & Justice Center, Prairie Hills Audubon Society, and C o n c e r n e d Rosebud Citizens had sued seeking to stop the project. But it may yet be stopped. Former Rosebud Sioux tribal council president Norman Wilson, who backed the hog farm, was ousted in late 1999, and the current Rosebud Sioux council on January 5 resolved that the work should stop pending further review.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on February 1 reversed a lower court ruling that the USDA has failed to implement the intent of Congress when it amended the Animal Welfare Act in 1985 to require provisions for the psychological well-being of captive nonhuman primates. The case was brought by New York activist Marc Jurnove and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Though defeated on the primary issue, pending further appeal, Jurnove and the ALDF won a landmark precedent in September 1998 when the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled on their behalf that concerned individuals and animal advocacy groups can have legal standing to sue the USDA seeking enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. That verdict was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 1999.
Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Francis Wasielewski on January 21 reversed a defamation verdict won in 1999 by Society of St. Francis president and Animal Lobby founder Cindy Schultz against radio talk show host Charles Sykes and the M i l w a u k e e Journal Sentinel for allegedly linking her to the 1996 theft of a dog whose owner Schultz had accused of neglect. Schultz was charged in the case, but the charges were dismissed. Wasielewski ruled that Schultz had attempted to commit “fraud on the court” and “suborn perjury” by coaching witness Clary Engel before the defamation trial. Journal Sentinel reporter Jessica McBride identified Engel as “a former friend of Schultz with a felony criminal record.” Added McBride, “Schultz testified during the hearing [on the motion for reversal] that Engel tried to extort money from her, saying that uf she did not give him $2,000, he would create a ‘big show’ by falsely claiming she’d asked him to lie. Engel acknowledged that he had tried to sell his story to the Journal Sentinel and Sykes’ radio program, but denied the extortion accusation.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ( Philadelphia ) on January 3 overturned a 1997 U.S. District Court verdict that Robert P. DeHart, serving a life sentence at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution in Greene, is not entitled to vegan meals even though he is a Buddhist. The District Court held that neither veganism nor vegetarianism are mandated by Buddhism. The Court of Appeals responded that, “Even unorthodox beliefs are afforded protection under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, so long as they are sincerely held and religious in nature.”
The Sierra Club on February 5 announced that it intends to sue Murphy Family Farms’ hog operations in Missouri for damages over alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The Sierra Club contends that the violations have continued unabated since 1992. The second-largest hog producer both in Missouri and in the U.S., Murphy Family Farms operations in Missouri alone produce 50,000 hogs per year––and is also the biggest producer in North Carolina, as well as a major producer in Iowa.
The Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine on January 20 asked the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the release of new USDA dietary guidelines, which PCRM contends have been unduly influenced by representatives from animal agriculture. “We are saying that more than half the committee [which drafted the guide – lines] is made up of members who have meat, dairy and egg industry ties,” PCRM attorney Mindy Kursban told Reuters health and science correspondent Maggie Fox. PCRM also holds that the new guidelines are racially biased because about 90% of Asians, 70% of Afro-Americans and Native Americans, and 15% of Caucasians may have difficulty digesting the prescribed volume of milk.
Twelve participants in the 1999 Primate Freedom Tour, calling themselves the Yerkes 12, were on January 27 sentenced to do community service in an AIDS or cancer ward and serve a year on probation for stepping across a police line during a July 1999 protest outside the Yerkes Regional Primate Center at Emory University in Atlanta.
Pamela Ferdin, 40, a noted child actor during the 1960s and 1970s, and more recently a cofounder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Animal Defense League, was on February 1 sentenced to 29 days in jail for carrying an ankus, or “elephant hook,” as a prop at a protest against a Circus Vargas performance at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California, during August 1999. Ferdin, best remembered as the voice of Lucy in “Peanuts” animated cartoons, said she would appeal. The prosecution holds that the ankus was a potentially deadly weapon. Ferdin was not accused of using it as a weapon.
San Diego Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer on January 14 ordered the Fashion Valley Mall to pay legal fees of $26,240 to Last Chance For Animals, after losing a year-long series of verdicts to LCA while attempting to bar anti-fur protests from the mall and surrounding area. Although the case is believed to have cost the mall more than $100,000, and brought one of the strongest rulings to date in favor of the right to protest in quasi-public areas on private property, Macy’s East in Boston on January 25 filed a similar request for injunctions against protest by members of the Dallas-based Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade. The Macy’s East complaint reportedly seeks to prevent anti-fur protesters from “picketing, gathering or otherwise congregating in numbers greater than three…massing, engaging in mass picketing.” Eleven protesters were arrested at Macy’s East during a December 1999 demonstration.
Seattle activist Bob Chorush on January 13 claimed a default small claims court judgement against the Sterling & Reid Circus of Sarasota, Florida, when the circus according to Chorush “failed to defend itself” against a charge of consumer fraud. Chorush contended that Sterling & Reid publicity “grossly exaggerated and intentionally misrepresented acts which were to appear” at a May 28 performance in King County, Washington. “The circus now has 30 days to repay my circus admission price plus filing fees and costs, or face further legal action,” Chorush said. The default verdict came just as debate heated up over a proposed Seattle ban on circus acts involving live animals.
U.S. District Judge James Parker, of Albuquerque, on January 11 ruled on behalf of Animal Protection of New Mexico and Defenders of Wildlife that USDA Wildlife Services, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management m a y not kill pumas on federal land in New Mexico because, “defendants do not have an accurate estimate of the puma population based on scientific data.” The verdict, however, did not stop a New Mexico Game and Fish Department plan to kill 34 pumas in order to protect bighorn sheep, whose numbers the department hopes to rebuild to a huntable level.
Palm Beach Circuit Judge James Carlisle in December 1999 ruled on behalf of William Boyd, 47, that the Wellington Arms Condominium Association in Ocean Ridge, Florida, improperly tried to exclude his cat in 1997 under a 1968 clause which forbade residents from keeping “any dog.” The condo board is to pay Boyd’s $12,000 legal costs.